Screenshot from ABC Tampa Bay

UPDATE: Man Found Guilty of a Lesser Charge for Shooting at Black Teen

The jury at Oakland County Circuit Court in Michigan found Jeffrey Craig Ziegler, age 53, guilty of assault with intent to do great bodily harm and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

They deliberated less than three hours on Friday after closing arguments, where the prosecutor, Kelly Collins, argued that Ziegler “was the danger,” not the teen. Brennan Walker narrowly escaped fatal injury because Ziegler forgot to turn off the safety on his 12-gauge Mossberg shotgun. The video showed he was unable to immediately fire at first, and police confirmed the safety was initially on.

Ziegler’s attorney, Robert Morad, argued his client was firing a warning shot in the air one time and never chased after Walker.

The original charge was assault with intent to murder, punishable by up to life in prison, but Ziegler was convicted on the lesser charge and faces up to 10 years in prison.

He showed no emotion as the verdict was read.

Lisa Wright, Walker’s mother, cried as the verdict was read. She had accused Ziegler of taking actions that were racially motivated. Her friend Carin Poole said justice was served “in some way.”

Related Story: White Man Who Shot at Lost Black Teen and Called Him ‘Colored’ Stands Trial

Poole also said the hope was for a more serious charge.

According to a study done by the Equal Justice Initiative:

White defendants were 25 percent more likely than black defendants to have their most serious initial charge dropped or reduced to a less severe charge; approximately 15 percent more likely than similar black defendants to be convicted of a misdemeanor instead. White defendants with no prior convictions were over 25 percent more likely than black defendants with no prior convictions to receive a charge reduction.

Ziegler testified that he thought Walker was an adult, at 6-feet, 2-inches tall, and that “instinct” made him grab his gun to protect his wife.

Walker testified: “I turned back and I saw him aiming at me… I was trying to run away faster and I heard a gunshot.”

Morad said outside of court that the home security video could appear to show Ziegler was firing in Walker’s direction, but said the shot goes away from where the teen was running.

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said, “That’s just completely unacceptable on every level. I don’t know how you would justify it, but it certainly doesn’t pass the muster,” said Bouchard.

Judge Wendy Potts revoked Ziegler’s bond and ordered him to jail pending sentencing Nov. 13.

Reader Question: When sentencing happens in a month, how much time in do you think Ziegler will be sentenced to

Latest News

Facebook logo

Facebook Forced To Pay a Record $14-Million Settlement for Discriminating Against US Workers

October continues to be a month Facebook likely wishes it could forget. First came Frances Haugen, the whistleblower who explained in chilling detail how the site and its algorithms are designed to profit off what she called “the spread and amplification of hate, misinformation and political unrest.” Then there was…

AbbVie’s ‘Ability’ Employee Resource Group on How the Company Champions People With Seen and Unseen Disabilities

Originally published at stories.abbvie.com. AbbVie ranked No. 15 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   In the sixth of a seven-part Employee Resource Group (ERG) series, we’re shining the spotlight on Ability at AbbVie. This group focuses on advocacy and inclusion, uniting employees with disabilities,…

United States Capitol Building

More Than 300 Black Congressional Staffers Decry Lack of Diversity on Capitol Hill; Challenge Lawmakers To ‘Do Better’

Regardless of which party is in power at any given time, people of color continue to be woefully underrepresented in not just elected office but also within support roles working for those lawmakers. And now, hundreds of these staffers are speaking out about what they call an “appalling” lack of…